Mandy McLaren is a reporter for The Great Divide, an investigative team focused on educational inequities. She has been covering education topics since 2016, including charter schools, state takeovers, and seclusion and restraint. Her recent work includes “Lost in a world of words,” a multipart series on why so many Massachusetts students struggle to read. She formerly reported for the Louisville Courier Journal where her investigation into the improper use of mental health assessments by Kentucky's largest school district was named the best investigative reporting of 2020 by the National Awards for Education Reporting. She was a 2023 semifinalist for the Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting for her series, “Between the Lines,” and a 2022 Livingston Award finalist for her series, “Magnetic Pull,” and its companion podcast, “A Bad School.” Her work has been featured in The Washington Post and USA TODAY. She was an adjunct professor in journalism at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Ind., in 2021. Before becoming a reporter, McLaren was a public school teacher and administrator in New Orleans. She has a master’s degree in investigative journalism from American University, in Washington, D.C., and bachelor’s degrees in political science and broadcast journalism from Boston University.